PetFlyers Blog

Flying with Brachycephalic Pets in Australia: All the information you need to know

Flying with your pet can be a stressful experience, especially if your furry friend is a brachycephalic breed. These breeds, which include French Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, and some breeds of cats, have unique health considerations that can make air travel particularly challenging. This article will provide some tips based on the Live Animals Regulations (LAR) and International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) guidelines to help ensure a safe and comfortable journey for your pet.

Understanding Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Brachycephalic breeds are characterized by their short noses and flat facesThis unique facial structure can lead to Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), a condition that affects the upper airway and can cause breathing difficulties. Symptoms of BOAS include snorting sounds, difficulty breathing, and in severe cases, collapse. Cambridge University has done some research on BOAS and The good news is that only 5% of Pets identified as a Brachycephalic Breed suffer from BOAS. About half of these can be treated by Surgery. The other half are high risk and should never fly.

If your Pet has BOAS the chances are you will already be aware from the gasping sounds they make while breathing, particularly during exercise. Loud snoring is another symptom.

Preparing for the Flight

Before you book your flight, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian. They can assess your pet’s health and determine if they are fit to fly. It’s also important to ensure your pet is at a healthy weight, as obesity can exacerbate BOAS symptoms.

Petflyers will send you a copy of the Brachycephalic Vet Check which needs to be done before the flight. We also have an indemnity form which explains the additional risks of shipping Brachycephalic Pets.

It is best to fly Pets during cool weather which may mean very early morning or evening flights. Flights in the middle of the day during Summer are definitely to be avoided. The Airline will cancel booking if the Weather is forecast to exceed 35 degrees at either departure or arrival Airport.

Choosing the Right Airline

Not all airlines accept brachycephalic breeds. This can make it very difficult and expensive to move around with your Pet.

For Australian Domestic flights, Virgin only allows us to fly between 6 major airports; Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth & Sydney. Bookings are only allowed on flights departing before 9:00 and after 18:00. Only direct flights are permitted. Qantas allows Brachycephalic breeds on flights at all times of the day and from all airports.

Both airlines do not fly Brachycephalic pups any younger than 12 weeks old.

For International Flights we mainly use Qantas as they accept all Breeds as long as the Pet passes the Brachycephalic Vet Check. We can use a few other Airlines depending on where you are going. Please call our office to discuss your needs, our staff have a wealth of knowledge and will be able to find a solution in most cases.

Crate Selection and Preparation

The crate your pet travels in can significantly impact their comfort and safety. According to the LAR guidelines, the crate should be large enough for your pet to turn around, stand, sit, and lie in a natural positionIt’s also important to get your pet accustomed to their crate before the flight to reduce stress.

Petflyers sells a full range of Crates to suit all Pet for Domestic Flights we also offer crate hire. Our crates meet all Live Animal Regulations and can be used on flights all around the World.

Brachycephalic dog in a box
Brachycephalic French Bulldog in a box Image by on Freepik

On the Day of the Flight

On the day of the flight, ensure your pet has access to water and avoid feeding them for at least 12 hours before the flight to prevent motion sickness

Post-Flight Care

Once you’ve reached your destination, give your pet time to adjust to their new surroundings. Keep an eye out for any signs of distress or discomfort, and seek veterinary care if needed.

While flying with a brachycephalic dog or cat requires extra preparation and care, it’s important to ensure a safe and successful journey. By following these tips and guidelines, you can ensure your pet’s comfort and well-being throughout your travels.

Remember, every pet is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Always consult with a professional pet transport company or your veterinarian to ensure the best care for your pet.

Cost of Shipping Brachycephalic Pet

Our Clients often ask why does it cost so much to fly a Brachycephalic Pet? There are a few reasons why it is more expensive; firstly a Vet Check has to be done, secondly we must provide one size larger crate than normal and thirdly it is an Airline Requirement that we have Agents attend the Airport. So it will always cost more compared to non brachycephalic Pets.

Ready to Fly a dog on a plan with a smooth and easy experience?

Safe travels!

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